Y2k Workers chance to celebrate

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Technology: Y2K workers welcome this New Year's Eve

By SUSAN PARROTT, Associated Press

DALLAS (December 30, 2000 2:24 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - Mike Cox's millennium dinner last year came from his favorite restaurant -- in a takeout box.

Like thousands of other workers, he rang in last New Year at work, awaiting fallout from the Y2K computer glitch that threatened to wreak havoc, but didn't.

"I had my entire staff at work," said Cox, who was then spokesman for the Texas Department of Safety. "Threadgill's sent over chicken fried steak and we had fake champagne. Then we just sat by waiting on problems. It was probably the safest New Year's Eve ever."

Don't call Cox this Dec. 31. For him and others who missed the fun last year, this holiday will be an excuse to party like it's 1999.

Cox said he'll celebrate the "real millennium" in style -- the food will be the same, but he'll eat at the restaurant.

Under the widely used Gregorian calendar, which started with the year 1, the third millennium doesn't begin until Jan. 1, 2001.

Weather permitting, organizers of some public celebrations expect a bigger turnout this year than last. Some events last year drew weaker-than-expected attendance because people feared big crowds or problems from the Y2K computer bug -- glitches caused by computers reading "00" as 1900 instead of 2000.

In Denver, Sunday night's celebration is expected to attract nearly 100,000 people after a weak turnout last year.

"It will be better this year than if they had it last year because people can just concentrate on celebrating rather than being caught up in the overall sense of impending doom," said Lashley Pulsipher, a 25-year-old Denver resident.

Randall Horton of Dallas is content just to celebrate with friends and family instead of staring at a computer screen. As Y2K project manager for Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Horton spent the rollover to 2000 in a command post monitoring the transition at hospitals around the world.

"This year, I expect I'll monitor the millennial transition with equal interest, albeit from home, with family, and with real champagne instead of grape juice and soda water from a plastic cup."

But some people looking for a chance to party have been disappointed by scaled-back millennial celebrations.

Frank Guarino of Memphis, Tenn., a telecommunications manager, has had little luck finding a "true millennium" celebration. Guarino wanted something special after working last year to help First Tennessee Bank make a trouble-free transition to Y2K.

"I'm astounded that no big hotels are really pumping this thing to celebrate the real millennium," he said. "It disappoints me because I was looking forward to a big hoorah."

Bad weather could be this year's glitch; ice, snow and unusually cold weather have buffeted many parts of the country.

In New York City where 11 inches of snow had fallen by midday, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani remained confident that the New Year's Eve bash in Times Square would go on.

"Although it's cold, it's not unbearable," Giuliani said.

"I don't know if we're going to be off," said Don Rogers, spokesman for the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which rang in 2000 at work. "It's going to totally depend on the weather."

If Mother Nature cooperates, Rogers will be a happy man.

"At least I'll be able to give my wife a kiss at midnight and not at 4 a.m.," he said with a chuckle.

-- kevin (ktross@mailcity.com), December 31, 2000

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